During a hearing on Aug. 3, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan denied the defense’s motion for a speedy trial and the prosecutor’s motion for a protective order for a homicide case.
Reginald Turner, 37, is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection to the shooting of 37-year-old Malik Muhammad on the 800 block of Taylor Street, NE, on Nov. 26, 2018. The homicide occurred while Turner was on parole supervision for a separate, unrelated case in Maryland.
On Aug. 3, parties convened to discuss a motion Turner filed from the DC Jail, objecting to his trial date which is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2024. According to Turner, who has been detained for this case since April 9, 2019, his case was continually delayed by the prosecutor to an extent that violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. He requested an earlier trial date or to be released from detention.
In reviewing Turner’s argument, Judge Raffinan considered the length of the case’s delay, the reasons for the delay, the defendant’s assertion of his speedy trial right, and the degree of prejudice to Turner caused by the delay–the four prongs established by United States Supreme Court case Barker v. Wingo to evaluate whether or not a defendant’s right to a speedy trial had been violated.
Judge Raffinan denied Turner’s motion, determining that although Turner’s case had been delayed significantly by the prosecutor, the majority of delays were unavoidable due to COVID-19 issues. In addition, the scheduled trial date accommodated the earliest time the case could go to trial.
Judge Raffinan then heard the prosecutor’s arguments concerning her motion to protect witnesses’ identities and sensitive information when turning over interview transcripts to Turner’s defense attorney, Dana Page.
“Your Honor has great discretion over this discrete matter,” said the prosecutor. “But it is important to protect the witnesses’ identities and security.”
Page opposed the prosecutor’s motion, arguing there was “no particularized reason and no good cause” for imposing a protective order.
Judge Raffinan denied the prosecutor’s motion, saying the prosecutor’s reasons for imposing a protective order on witnesses’ sensitive information was not specific enough.
According to court documents, a witness told members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) that Turner and Muhammad were conversing outside an apartment building about the location of Turner’s cell phone. Turner, according to the witness, seemed “irritated and impatient” when Muhammad told the defendant the cell phone was in his girlfriend’s car and would be returned shortly.
Turner’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 23, where parties will discuss potential DNA testing.